Toronto District School Board

Two TDSB teachers chosen for acclaimed National Geographic Education program

Two TDSB teachers chosen for acclaimed National Geographic Education program

Wednesday, April 06, 2016
Categories: Great Things, Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

Two TDSB teachers are among a select group of educators to be chosen to participate in the acclaimed Grosvenor Teacher Fellow (GTF) program this school year. Ellie Clin from The Grove Community School recently returned from a trip to Antarctica as Fiona Hall from Sir Wilfrid Laurier CI gets set for her trip to the Arctic later this June.

National Geographic Education and Lindblad Expeditions have partnered to offer the GTF as a professional development opportunity for K-12 classroom teachers across Canada and the USA. The program recognizes top educators such as Clin and Hall for their commitments to geographic education, providing them with a chance to travel on one of two ships to a variety of destinations and to share knowledge with their students and others both during and after the trip.

For Clin, her trip was a once-in-a-lifetime field experience. She was one of 35 participants selected from some 2700 teachers who applied to be part of the 2015 GTF class. She departed December 7, 2015 for a two-week expedition. When she returned to school on January 4, 2016, she brought with her a wealth of information to help her teach students about a little-understood part of the world. 

“This has had a big impact on my classroom,” she said. “My students have been engaged in a lot of learning about Antarctic wildlife, which has been highlighted on my own blog and on the National Geographic Education blog.” She said that the program instilled a sense of responsibility to share what she learned with students so that they would know about the importance of protecting the Antarctic environment. It also provided plenty of highlights to share. “Although I knew I would love seeing the wildlife, I was surprised and in awe of the beauty of the ice I saw there, and this became my favourite part of the trip.” Clin has also made presentations to students at other schools and at the Toronto Public Library. 

Fiona Hall is part of the 2016 GTF class that departs for Arctic Svalbard this June. “I am constantly on the lookout for new routes of inspiration and the combination of experienced educators, passionate scientists, and remote landscapes sounded like the perfect recipe for endless inspiration,” she said in noting her motivation to apply for the program. 

While on the trip, Hall hopes to be able to virtually connect her students with those who live in the Arctic. “This will help students make connections between remote locations and their extremely urban environment,” she said.  Hall is also excited about the prospect of building her own knowledge base by working with scientists, photographers, naturalists and other members of the expedition team aboard the ship National Geographic Explorer. “I’m thrilled about the hands-on professional development and life experiences I will gain from this expedition.”   

To read more about the 2016 Class of Grosvenor Teacher Fellows, click here. Teachers can apply to be part of the 2017 GTF class later this year.

Photos by Ellie Clin.

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